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Thursday, August 15, 2013

MOM MATTERS: Breastfeeding is Best Feeding

I attended a Breastfeeding and Lactation Workshop yesterday, August 14, at Capitol Medical Center, Quezon City. I was encouraged by my OB-GYNE to attend it as she also wanted me to breastfeed my would be son. It was really a blessing because my husband and I really wanted to breastfeed as it has so many advantages. I was not really into breastfeeding or I didn't like the thought of it when I was still single. I felt it was awkward, uncomfortable, and just weird. Especially as I didn't know anyone personally who does it. I always see people breastfeeding in jeepneys, streets and even in malls. But all that changed when my cousin, breastfed her son, and is still breastfeeding until now. Her son's already more than 1 year old. Through her, I learned of the positive effects of breastfeeding. One of which was it's very economical. I have three other nieces and nephews, all of them drink milk formula and I know how expensive it is. It was really one of the main reason why I wanted to breastfeed. Little did I know, that I would get a lot more if I do breastfeed.
Freebies from the seminar

When we arrived in Capitol Medical Center, we were a little surprise because most of the participants were doctors, and hospital personnel. Although, the workshop was for medical practitioners, we were still accommodated. They even gave us freebies.

The morning session was about the benefits of breastfeeding, proper breast care and expressing milk. The afternoon session was for clinical and hospital personnel and the practice of breastfeeding in private hospitals.  Two speakers from Fabella Hospital talked about the benefits of breastfeeding and the methods of expressing breastmilk. They are Manang Norma and Manang Melba, they are both mid wives. They shared that in Fabella there are about 147 deliveries in 24 hours. Imagine how many children are born every hour in Fabella. So I knew, that these speakers were really experts in their field. It made the seminar a lot more interesting for me.
Registration Area at the Auditorium of Capitol Medical Center

First topic was about the benefits of breastfeeding. I summarized them as follows:

1. Protection from diseases and allergies.
2. Good family planning method
3. Breastmilk has a lot of vitamins and minerals that is good for the baby. 
4. Reduces the risk of breast cancer
5. It helps for losing weight
6. Readily available
7. Children that are breastfed do not usually become sickly.
8. Bonding for both mother and child. 
9. Protects from infection and anemia
10. Very convenient because it does not need any equipment.

These ten benefits of breastfeeding, all the more made me an advocate for it. I realized that it is nature's way of caring for our little ones. It's also God's miracle that we are able to feed our children from our own bodies. As Manang Melba said, "Ang Gatas ng Tao, para sa tao" and I totally agree. But just like any other first time mom, I had apprehensions on breastfeeding. Many questions were actually running through my head like what if I can't produce milk for my baby, how do I start breastfeeding, and how long should I be doing it?
Luckily, all of this has been answered.

How to start breastfeeding?

Manang Norma said that first and foremost important in breastfeeding, is a mother's state of mind and willingness. She said that it's very important for first time moms to decide and stand on that decision to breastfeed. She said that it is best that new moms think that it is the only for them to feed their child so they must do it. She also said that it is very important that a mom's build their confidence in breastfeeding. It is important that a first time mom gets the support necessary from her husband and other family members. She also emphasized that doctors should also be able to talk to their patients about their issues or concern with breastfeeding. This will help clear any misconceptions about breastfeeding and help them reinforce the decision to breastfeed.

I'll also share some of the Frequently Asked Questions about breastfeeding that was discussed in the seminar:

1. What if my breasts are small? Will it produce enough milk for my baby?

According to the speakers, the size and shape of the breasts does not matter. As long as the mom is willing to breastfeed, it will produce the necessary milk needed.

2. I have inverted nipples, how do I express milk from them?

Inverted nipples according to the speakers are easy to deal with. They use different syringe that acts as suction to pull out the inverted nipples. Another tip given was the Hoffman's Technique or Exercise. It's a very simple exercise to do with inverted nipples to let it pop out. Dra. Blancaflor, shared this simple exercise, a breastfeeding expert who breastfed all her seven children. She said you just need to pull the outwards from the sides until the nipple pop out. One other method is to let your husband pull out the nipples thru his tongue. Although, this is not very much recommended as it may initiate premature labor.
Manang Norma showing a 15 cc syringe used to express milk

Manang Norma showing a 20 cc syringe

3. What if I'm working or studying, can I still breastfeed?

Yes, there are ways to express and store breastmilk so working moms can still do it. A mother can pump and store milk in the freezer and heat it up when needed.

4. What if the baby does not breastfeed for the first time? What methods can be used?

If there is a difficulty in breastfeeding for the first time, a cup feeding method is used. This is when a baby is fed with milk through a medicinal cup. Holding the baby like a football (please see picture), milk will be given to the baby using a cup at the back of its tongue. This is done to prevent the baby from choking. Another method is using a syringe where the milk is flowed from the syringe to the breast until the baby finds his/her mom's breast.
Manang Melba showing how to cup feed a newborn baby

5. What if I do not produce enough milk?

Manang Norma and Manang Melba are also lactation experts. They shared and demo lactation massages that they do to help first time mom produce milk.

Lactation Massage 101:
1. Clear mindset and accepting heart to breastfeed
2. Massage different points:
   a. HEAD: middle points, pituitary, in a downward stroke, from the temples and release

   b. ARMS: Inward strokes

   c. SHOULDERS: Outward strokes
   d. BACK: Spinal cord in downward strokes
3. Note that breasts are not touched when doing the lactation massages

Another way to produce more milk is to take malunggay supplements or eat anything with malunggay. They also shared one recipe which is to boil malunggay leaves with pinch of salt and drink it. It helps in lactation and has a lot of other benefits.

6. How to clean nipples/breasts properly?

They also discussed about the proper nipple care when breastfeeding. It is important to hand wash the breast, and make sure not to use soap for the nipples. It is also advisable to use just water and a cotton and sterile gauze to properly clean it.

7. How to properly carry the baby while breastfeeding?
Demo on carrying the baby called the Football hold
1. No pain for the mother
2. Chin is closest to the breast
3. Sucks without stimulation
4. Baby has full cheeks
5. Facing the mother
6. Well attached to the chest
7. Supported by the mother's arms

We left after the morning session because the afternoon was directed more for hospital staff and medical people. We learned a lot from it and has helped me and my husband to be more confident in breastfeeding our son. I am now a full pledge advocate for breastfeeding and I hope I'd be able to successfully do it. Wish me luck!:)

If you ever need a lactation expert, you may contact Manang Norma and Manang Melba at 0908 123 3264. They can go to your hospital to have a lactation massage and breastfeeding session.

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